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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year

Native Tree Fern - Hapuu
Okay, now it's really been too long. I know it's January, but it was 82 degrees today, sunny and then it started raining at 3:30. Got about half an inch. Still not enough though, we are having a drought here, only half the rainfall we normally get, only 45" last year, normally 90". We live off catchment (water off the roof, we catch in a 10,000 gal tank), as of today it was down to a foot (full is 7'). 10,000 gals should be a lot, but the trouble is you need the water when it doesn't rain, a bit of a glitch in the system. A big thanks to my neighbor, a retired Hilo agriculture professor, who has a well and lets us use it to fill it up. I'm going to have to fill this week, so far maybe 5 times since we moved in.

It's surprising how fast the cinder soil (10-30 yds deliveries to date) here drys out, three days and new stuff wilts. At least now most of the plants are pretty well established and can last between rains. The mulch (100 yds) we put out has really helped, the garden has really grown.

I'm beginning to tell the seasons here. The plumerias go kind of dormant in the winter, but even now I still have a few blooming. Some winter blooming salvias do only bloom in the winter, like S. wagneriana, but others like S. mexicana 'Russel's Form' bloom all year. Still waiting to see if the Hollywood plum I brought will flowers and bloom, (still has most of it's leaves). I bought a Golden Dorset Apple (low chill) here, still waiting on that one as well. The Figs (Ventura and Panache) have done well and fruited, even thought they are still in the 5gals cans. Vegetables and annuals are odd though and seem to grow whenever, but the poppies (Papavar somniferum) just wont live. Most things thrive, but a few have difficulties. I'm not sure if it's the pH (we are way acid at 5.5) or what. Nutrition leaches almost instantly. I've started using Nutricote 100 day slow release in the nursery pots, and that stuff is magic in this climate, no burning and the plants jump, but it costs $75 for a 50lb. In the ground we've been using triple sixteen ($22 for a 50lb) and a great slow release from Japan called Complehumis, an organic based 8-8-8 with molasses as a coating, about a buck a pound, that I really like. Down side, the wild pigs here apparently love it, luckily our garden has a hog fence. Hogs out, dogs in.

Still learning here, but the Japanese garden I'm landscaping is really coming along.
Trying to get some of my work known on the island, for the web site & stuff. Check out the new site

www.kalolilandscape.com



Path in the Japanese Garden
Covillea racemosa
I'm really enjoying landscaping and growing plants here, but I do need to start making more money, I think I may have underestimated what it would be like to have to start over from scratch. Still though glad we made the move. I'm more relaxed here, the other day I actually found myself driving below the speed limit (common here). Andy and I are both working pretty much full time and have enough money to get by, but just not enough to get ahead, and that's without a mortgage. The nursery is coming along, but with no money to move it forward, new base material (to level), tables, shade and such, the process has been slow. To outsiders I'm sure it looks like we are moving fast here, but to me, painfully slow.

We have started to makes more friends here, and that feels really good. People here are really nice. Quite a few are like us, new transplants. I'm meeting a lot of people at the farmers market on Sundays, and Andy meets tons of people at Paradise Plants up in town where he works.

Variegated Banana 'Ae Ae'
So far I've harvested two crops of bananas, which grow super good here, duh. The trouble is you get too many, I sold the extra variegated ones at the farmers market. They have a sweet, lightly apricot flesh and holds on to the acid even as the peel browns. I also got a nice bunch of dwarf apple bananas,my favorite, most of those got frozen for smoothies. Those were quick, less than a year from planting. Still waiting for pineapples, those take two years they tell me.


We lost our roommate Jeff, he baled in the Oct. while owing us over 4,000 dollars. Just left one day with no notice & left all his stuff. We called the police and after a few days went though his room looking for clues, only to find a straightened up disaster zone, including large Tupperware containers full of dirty dishes. Who lives like that? He finally emailed & made arrangements to pick up his shit. Good riddence. I am so tired of sober AA people using us, just broken people. He said he pay us back, but I guess we will have to wait and see. So no more helping people (at least in AA)



I like living alone (with just Andy), but a roomate would really help with the bills. We also talked about setting the room up as a vaction room rental, but we'll figure it out.

I've also been working on other projects, like these benches that convert into a picnic table. Making tufa pots, since pots are so expensive here. I did put up a new 400 sq ft shade house, which is really helped with propagation.


A few friends have visited, Cliff & Dae from Arizona & my bother David and his boyfriend Robbie from California. More expected - tom

David, Andy, Tom